New deans drive innovation, persistence, outreach

15th September 2016

By Steven Krolak

(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)—Five new deans have begun their three-year terms at IU Southeast.

The new deans have deep roots in the curriculum, culture and community of IU Southeast. Respected scholars in their own right, they share a passion for teaching and learning, and bring fresh perspectives to the role of academic leadership. In a time of rededication to supporting student persistence and broadening community outreach, their extensive and diverse records of service to the university have prepared them well to guide their schools in alignment with campus strategic planning.

Donna Bowles

Dr. Donna Bowles, Dean of the School of Nursing

Dr. Donna Bowles, Dean of the School of Nursing

Dr. Donna Bowles has assumed the role of Dean of the School of Nursing. Bowles has been serving as interim dean since August, 2015. She received her B.S.N. from Bellarmine University, her M.S.N. from the University of Louisville and her Ed.D. from Spalding University. Donna’s nursing practice has been primarily hospital-based with providing care for the acutely ill adult. Areas of interest in academia include teaching strategies, testing and online program development. She is a recipient of four Trustees Teaching Awards and two Grawemeyer Awards for Outstanding Instructional Development among other recognitions. Both on and off campus, Donna has served the cause of professional development in a wide variety of contexts.

Many opportunities are forthcoming for the School of Nursing. Along with the faculty, I look forward to making these happen at IU Southeast. Having worked with most of my colleagues for 15 years, I expect this to be a smooth transition and I think we’ll get a lot accomplished together, which will directly influence the success of our students.


Donna Dahlgren

Dr. Donna Dahlgren, Dean of Student Success and Persistence

Dr. Donna Dahlgren, Dean of Student Success and Persistence

Dr. Donna Dahlgren has assumed the role of Dean of Student Success and Persistence. She has been serving as director of the First Year Seminar (FYS). Dahlgren received her B.S. in psychology and political science from Northern Michigan University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Kent State University. Through her work, Dahlgren has collaborated across campus with administrators, faculty, advisors and staff to enhance student success and persistence through the First Year Seminar, and is the recipient of a Trustees Teaching Award. Using her leadership and research skills, she has designed and implemented data-driven student success initiatives that have helped IU Southeast retain more students.

I am looking forward to working with faculty and staff on new and ongoing projects that help to enhance the success and persistence of our first year and ongoing students. Already we have several new initiatives that are giving students the type of support they need to ensure they reach their academic goals. During my time at IU Southeast, I have always been inspired by the dedicated staff and faculty who are as excited to work on these issues as I am.


David Eplion

Dr. David Eplion, Dean of the School of Business

Dr. David Eplion, Dean of the School of Business

Dr. David Eplion has assumed the role of Dean of the School of Business. Dean Eplion previously served as coordinator of Management, Marketing and Supply Chain and Information Management, most recently as the school’s AACSB coordinator. He has served as co-coordinator of the Management Development Program and coordinator of the CEO Roundtable. He earned his undergraduate degree from IU Bloomington, his M.B.A. from IU Southeast and his Ph.D., in organizational behavior, from the University of Pittsburgh. Eplion is the recipient of a Trustees Teaching Award and an inductee into the Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET). He is a native of Jeffersonville, Ind., where he attended Jeffersonville High School.

As a native of Southern Indiana and an IU Southeast alum, I was very honored to be named Dean of the School of Business and am incredibly excited about the opportunity to work closely with the members of my hometown community. Our School’s vision is to be a premiere regional School of Business. Thanks to our dedicated faculty and staff, our highly motivated students, and our loyal community business partners, we are already well on our way to achieving our vision.  As Dean, my focus will be on helping us move further down that path.


James Hesselman

Professor James Hesselman, Dean of the School of Arts and Letters

Prof. James Hesselman, Dean of the School of Arts and Letters

Professor James (Jim) Hesselman has assumed the role of Dean of the School of Arts and Letters. He has served as associate professor of theatre. Hesselman earned his B.A. in speech, communication and theatre from Carthage College and his M.F.A. in theatre performance from the University of Louisville. He has had a significant impact on the theatre program, helping to grow the department and teaching all levels of stage acting while also nurturing students into mature professionals. Hesselman received an Excellence in Teaching award from the IU Southeast chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success, and was twice nominated for the IU Southeast Distinguished Teaching Award.

The School of Arts & Letters is arguably the most skill-set and ideologically diverse School on campus.  I want to help students (and the campus as a whole) become more aware of just what it is we offer over on the “other end of campus”  and why we as the Humanities are integral to the central notion of a Liberal Arts Education. Not a day goes by (sometimes not an hour or a minute) in all of our lives when we do not come into contact with something that has its roots in the School of Arts & Letters.


Kelly Ryan

Dr. Kelly Ryan, Dean of the School of Social Sciences

Dr. Kelly Ryan, Dean of the School of Social Sciences

Dr. Kelly A. Ryan has assumed the role of Dean of the School of Social Sciences. She has served as coordinator and associate professor in the department of history at IU Southeast, teaching classes in early American history, as well as gender and sexuality. She also served as coordinator and chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies program. Ryan received her B.A. from George Mason University, her M.A. from Boston College and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. She is a four-time recipient of the Trustees Teaching Award and a New Frontiers in Arts and Humanities grant among other accolades. Ryan has served on Faculty Senate and the Student Welfare and Research Committee. She is the first female dean of the School of Social Sciences.

As dean, my role will be to promote faculty and student success within our school, ensuring that both groups have access to the resources they need to achieve their goals in the classroom and in their research. I am also eager to expand relationships with our school’s alumni and partners in the community, and plan new activities to promote the benefits of the education our school provides. Offering an education for the “whole” person, our disciplines teach students important skills that lead to a lifetime of curiosity and success:  a respect for diversity and an appreciation for multiple perspectives, an ability to analyze social systems, institutions and behaviors, as well as project building and communication skills.

Homepage photo: (front row, from left) Dr. Donna Dahlgren, Dr. David Eplion; (second row, from left) Dr. Donna Bowles, Prof. James Hesselman, Dr. Kelly Ryan.

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